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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Two Indicted for Howell County Drug Trafficking, Airplane and Firearms Seized


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Marble Hill, Mo., man and a Shirley, N.Y., man have been indicted by a federal grand jury for a marijuana trafficking conspiracy in which the government has seized an aircraft and dozens of firearms.

Joshua William Vawter, 36, of Marble Hill, and Angelo Charles Vetrano, 33, of Shirley, were charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. Vawter and Vetrano were arrested at West Plains Regional Airport in West Plains, Mo., on Oct. 31, 2013.

The federal indictment alleges that Vawter and Vetrano participated in a conspiracy to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, 2013, in Howell County, Mo. Vawter and Vetrano are also charged with one count of possessing 50 kilograms or more of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Vawter and Vetrano to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged violations, or any property obtained as proceeds of the alleged violations, including a 1968 Piper Cherokee Six aircraft seized from Vawter and $1,800 seized from Vawter and Vetrano on Oct. 31, 2013, as well as $75,000 in cash, a 2009 John Deere tractor and 60 firearms, all of which was seized from Vawter’s residence.

Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), DHS Custom and Border Patrol, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Howell County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Bollinger County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri South Central Drug Task Force.
Updated January 12, 2015